I found myself feeling a little guilty at the way in which I became totally engrossed in this chunky and compelling title. I thought to myself I’ll just read the author’s introduction and the first case to get a feel for the book. Yeah right. Three lengthy sessions later and I had read all 16 cases.
There is something especially unsettling reading about people who have disappeared in mysterious circumstances and yet I couldn’t stop reading. One can’t imagine what it must be like to have loved ones simply vanish without trace.This is Bainbridge’s second title on the same subject, his first being Without Trace (Reed, 2005) with the major difference being that in the first book the cases were all very well known, probably the most infamous in NZ’s history whereas in this title, with the exception of Mona Blades and Iraena Asher, these cases are not generally known or remembered.
After publication of Without Trace, the author received numerous communications from people with information about the stories he had covered. Details of some of these are covered in the Epilogue to this new title. I’m sure, and I certainly hope, that following publication of Still Missing, the same thing will happen again.
Still Missing with the subtitle “More Unsolved Missing Person Cases in New Zealand.” Is a serious attempt by the author Scott Bainbridge to draw our attention to the fact that hundreds of people go missing each year in NZ, without a trace. His first book, entitled Without Trace, looked at 16 cases which perplexed the police. This book looks at another 16 cases which continually defy resolution.
As many of us know, in times of losing someone we love, we get the chance to say goodbye with a funeral. This gives us a chance to come to grips with the death of someone and to gradually accept it. However, when a loved one goes missing and does not return, we do not get the luxury of putting our minds to rest. Are they alive? Do they need help? Or have they died through their own doing or someone else’s?
These questions are considered by Bainbridge in a non-sensational manner. This book is well researched and gives a good insight into how the police and investigators work when trying to determine the fate of a missing person. Some of the cases here may be familiar to readers, such as the disappearance of Iraena Asher in October 2004. This book is full of details which, ironically, could help the police, as Bainbridge had no access to police files. Much help was given to him by a variety of people and institutions, such as staff from Births Deaths and Marriages, Department of Corrections and various newspapers and libraries.
Before picking up the book and looking at it, one could believe it to be a gloomy subject and therefore a gloomy book. Of course, the subject is uncomfortable, but the actual book is written in such a way as to give hope to those still looking for their missing family members, friends and lovers. It is very thought-provoking, and great fodder for someone with an inquiring mind and a desire to help solve some of these cases, as well as some not covered in this book.
A very readable and entertaining book.